Edward Koch, the three-term mayor of New York City known for his brash personal style and zest for wheeling and dealing in the turbulent political arena of the 1970s and 1980s, died this morning in a hospital bed, reportedly of congestive heart failure. Koch, a documentary film about the former mayor's life and times, opens today in theaters around the country.
His eternal question to the people of New York was "How'm I doing?" Whether asking rhetorically or not, he was able to make constituents believe that he was a man of the people who understood their fears and desires. He used his personal charm and whatever political capital he could get his hands on -- including two record majorities in his second and third bids for the mayor's office -- to restore New York as a world capital.
"Deals are my art form," he said. "Other people paint beautifully on canvas or write wonderful poetry. I like making deals, preferably big deals. That's how I get my kicks."
He knew how to sell his personal brand and never apologized for his rough edges. His battles were many. He seemed to relish the fight. "You punch me, I punch back," he once said. "I do not believe it's good for one's self-respect to be a punching bag."
Related: Zig Ziglar: A Life Lived At the Top
This week's need-to-know social-media news.
Among the takeaways from Facebook's fourth-quarter earnings report this week was this: Mobile advertising is a serious revenue driver. The social network's revenue grew 40 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to the same period the previous year, beating analyst expectations. Of that, mobile ads accounted for 23 percent of ad revenue, up from 14 percent in the previous quarter.
The growth of mobile -- more Facebook users now visit the site through mobile apps than a desktop computer -- is good news for Facebook and for advertisers, who have long hoped the platform could deliver results commensurate with its enormous user base. Co-founder Mark Zuckerberg predicted that Facebook would eventually make more money on every minute of Facebook mobile traffic than on desktop traffic. -- The New York Times
Foursquare launches a new app for businesses.
This week, Foursquare released a standalone app for business owners. A mobile extension of its desktop merchant tools, the app allows businesses to see recent check-ins, update specials and post promotions to social networks while on the go. Major retailers can't use the app, according to AllThingsD, but it should allow small businesses to engage more conveniently with customers. -- AllThingsD
Dropbox updates with new social features.
Popular cloud computing service Dropbox announced that over the next month it will release new features designed to make its service more social and content-oriented. Known for secure data backup, Dropbox is now separating some types of content, such as photos and songs, from file folders, and making it easier to share them. Say you have a folder of pictures of your employees during company-wide event or interacting with customers. Now you'll be able to select which ones you want to share and easily share them -- via Facebook, Twitter or email -- in a virtual album. -- AllThingsD and Wired
Super Bowl advertisers see results with pre-game YouTube spots.
With social media's ability to spread advertisements virally, more Super Bowl advertisers are releasing their game-day commercials early by posting them to YouTube. It seems a smart strategy: Commercials or teasers posted online before football's big game received an average of 9.1 million YouTube views last year. Those posted after airing on TV averaged only 1.3 million views. "Money that we might not have invested in [digital and YouTube] around the Super Bowl, we are investing it now," said Lucas Herscovici, vice president of digital for Anheuser-Busch. -- Fortune
British company burned when employee live-tweets layoffs.
Sometimes, allowing employees access to your social media accounts can backfire. That's what happened to U.K.-based electronics company HMV this week when one or more soon-to-be former employees took to HMV's official Twitter account to live-tweet details of company-wide layoffs. The first tweet read, "We're tweeting live from HR where we're all being fired! Exciting!! #hmvXFactorFiring." This update came a little later: "Just overheard our Marketing Director (he's staying, folks) ask 'How do I shut down Twitter?' #hmvXFactorFiring." The company eventually regained control of its feed and deleted the offending tweets -- but not before an editor at The Guardian newspaper captured them in a screen grab and, appropriately, tweeted it. -- PRDaily
Quentin Tarantino films have reached cult status, with universities now offering courses based on issues ranging from race to his use of pop culture references.
We spoke with Robert J. Thompson, professor of Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University, and Todd Dewett, a management professor at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio and Tarantino film fan, about what makes Tarantino films so popular, which business lessons his movies teach us, and what we can learn from his career.
"[Tarantino's] characters are so compellingly flawed," Thompson says. "They speak in the language regular people understand, dripping in popular culture references people are going to get." While Tarantino films are controversial for their violence, language and subject matter, business lessons can be extracted from them such as what to look for when hiring, how to work with others, and what to look for in training programs.
Here are four business lessons for Quentin Tarantino movies:
1. Find the right training to get to the top of your game.
In Kill Bill: Vols. 1 & 2, Uma Thurman's character, The Bride, seeks revenge against the group who destroyed her life and left her for dead on her wedding day. Her singular focus on getting revenge against Bill and his team fuels her martial arts makeover and she is transformed into a force to be reckoned with.
A roundup of the best tips of the week from Entrepreneur.com.
No matter how busy life gets as an entrepreneur, spending time with friends and family is something you should budget time for. Social activity is one of the best ways to fight stress, and it may even help you live longer.
Don't underestimate the value of moral support, either. Mountains seem more like mole hills when you have friends around you. When you don't, the reverse is true. "Social connection will actually change your perceptions of the world around you," says Heidi Hanna, author of The Sharp Solution: A Brain-Based Approach for Optimal Performance. "It's such a core survival need to be part of a tribe or a core community." More: 5 Ways to Stop Stress Before It Starts
Total U.S. nonfarm payroll employment rose by 157,000 in January, below the monthly average for 2012, and the unemployment rate held nearly steady at 7.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said today.
Meanwhile, according to the ADP Small Business Report released Wednesday,small businesses created 115,000 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis in January, compared to 9,000 new jobs in December. Previously ADP reported that 25,000 private sector small-business jobs were added in December, but revised the number down in January's report.
The January ADP jobs report was atypical in that growth in small business payrolls accounted for about 60 percent of the overall gains. More commonly over the past several months, small business job growth has accounted for about a third of overall job gains, according to ADP data.
On the front page of today's New York Times is a lengthy report about how the publishing giant was allegedly the victim of a four-month-long attack by Chinese hackers. The hackers apparently gained access to the newspaper's computer systems and obtained passwords for reporters and other employees. The timing of the attacks, the Times said, coincided with a report the paper published in October about a relative of China's prime minister.
While the Chinese government denied being involved in the alleged hack at the Times, security analysts have predicted that nation-sponsored cyber warfare will become more commonplace this year, with banks, businesses and other groups potentially at risk.
The Times suggested that hackers initially infiltrated its computer systems by way of a phishing scam -- when hackers use an email message that's tailored to you or your business to entice you to click on a link. The scams usually aim to con users out of money or to insert malicious code onto your computer that enables hackers access to your passwords and your company's sensitive business information.
Here are three tips to help keep you and your staff on the safe side of dangerous email hacking threats:
StartOut, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship in the lesbian, gay, transgender, and bisexual (LGBT) community, has announced the 2013 Lesbian Entrepreneur Mentoring Program. This second annual event pairs lesbian entrepreneurs with seasoned mentors to help them grow their businesses.
StartOut board member Leanne Pittsford, owner of San Francisco-based communications firm Start Somewhere, is co-chair of the program. She took time out to talk about the event and the need for mentorship among lesbian entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneur: Why launch this program?
Pittsford: I got involved with StartOut a couple of years ago when I was starting my business. I was interested in getting more women involved, so as we started talking to women and asking them what issues they face and what would help them, everyone said mentorship. We looked at how we could structure the program and launched it last year. We had ten entrepreneurs matched with ten mentors, last year and plan to have the same number this year.
As the drumbeat for immigration reform grows louder, several bipartisan groups of Senators are putting their weight behind individual components of the reform that explicitly benefit entrepreneurs.
Wednesday, Senators Mark Udall (D, Colo.) and Jeff Flake (R, Ariz.) said that they plan to reintroduce the Startup Visa Act. The Act, which was first introduced by Sen. John Kerry (D, Mass.) in 2010 and then reintroduced by a bipartisan group in 2011, gives foreign-born entrepreneurs who either gain financing from U.S. investors or earn revenue from U.S. customers a visa to launch and grow their business. If those entrepreneurs create jobs for U.S. employees, they would have the option to stay in the U.S. permanently.
Research in Motion, the Waterloo, Ontario-based maker the BlackBerry line of mobile devices, unveiled its long-delayed, revamped smartphone operating system called BB10 today. It also announced two new BlackBerry smartphones that run this OS: the Z10 (which has a 4.2-inch touchscreen) and the Q10 (with a physical keyboard).
For those who are keeping notes, Research in Motion also officially changed its company's name to BlackBerry.
The BB10 OS offers some intriguing features -- for users of the touchscreen model, at least. But some big questions remain for people who are deciding whether to buy BB10 devices.
The kale chip is just one of the more recent success stories in the fast-growing business niche of natural and organic foods and products. Entrepreneurs with new business ideas can still get their slice of the pie.
The natural and organic world has been growing for almost two decades as consumers become increasingly aware of what they are putting into and on their bodies, says Tony Olson, the owner and CEO of SPINS, a Schaumburg, Ill.-based company that tracks the industry.
We all know the health risks of lack of sleep, yet despite warnings of increased risk of diabetes, obesity and cardiac conditions, most of us fall short of the recommended seven to nine hours of shut eye per day. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports 30 percent of employed American adults get under six hours of sleep per day.
Lack of sleep is a serious problem for business. Dr. Michael Breus, author of Good Night: The Sleep Doctor's 4 Week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health (Dutton, 2006) says sleep can cause you to make bad business decisions. "The more sleep deprived you are, the more emotional your decision-making becomes, the slower you react and the slower you think," says Breus.
Researchers from Harvard Medical School found one-third of American workers aren't getting enough shut-eye to function at peak levels and this chronic exhaustion is costing companies billions of dollars in lost productivity. Being a smart sleeper is just as important as being a smart entrepreneur, but lack of sleep often goes undiagnosed. While you may think you're getting enough sleep, if you answer yes to any of the questions below, chances are you aren't reaping the benefits of your slumber.
When you think of sales, you might conjure a car dealer swindling unwitting customers, or a telemarketer who interrupted dinner last night. But, no matter what your role is in your company, you're also in sales. As a business leader, you sell your ideas, your products, and your company on a daily basis.
"Like it or not, we're all in sales," says Daniel Pink, author of the new book To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others (Riverhead, 2012). All of us persuade, influence, or convince others to give us time, money, attention, or opportunity every single day.
In order to succeed, you must be an effective salesperson. But salesmanship today is not what it used to be. "[Buyers] have a huge information advantage," Pink says, adding that they often come to a conversation more informed than the seller. "That means [sellers] can't take the low road. They have to be much more transparent."
That shift requires a new way of thinking about how to sell your ideas or products -- an approach that accommodates a culture that now expects customization.
Try these tips to learn how to sell your ideas effectively:
New media, meet the Old Gray Lady. If you have a fledgling media company with some promise, now might be your chance to work side-by-side with veterans at The New York Times. The Times Co. is launching a startup incubator, seeking to nurture companies whose presence in the Times' headquarters would be "mutually beneficial."
Dubbed timeSpace, the four-month program is an experiment, the company says, in developing ways to drive media forward in the midst of a period of "unprecedented change." To that end, the Times will open its doors at 620 8th Ave. in Manhattan later this year to three to five companies that are rethinking the future of media, whether in the realm of mobile, social, video, advertising or something else.
Even in its pilot phase, timeSpace "has the potential to enhance the exchange of ideas" between the Times and technology entrepreneurs, says Denise Warren, the general manager of NYTimes.com.
There are hundreds of apps that let you search, write emails, take notes and set appointments with your smartphone. But, for some people, the small size of a phone's keyboard or touch screen can be limiting and difficult to use.
If you have trouble seeing the small type, have a lack of finger dexterity or just think better out loud, you might benefit from a tool that allows you to convert spoken words to written words. Here's a look at three different speech-to-text apps that can help you get things done with a lot less hassle:
1. Dragon Dictation. This app has only one button. Simply tap it and start talking. Dragon Dictation handles the rest. The text appears after you finish dictating, so it might take a little getting used to. But once you get the rhythm, you can process lengthy emails and other documents with a high degree of accuracy in one of 30 different languages or dialects.